Saturday, February 28, 2015

Some notes on the MAC & Sun Belt schedule releases, plus the potential scheduling of the Gavitt Tipoff games

* The MAC & Sun Belt released their schedules on Friday, leaving the Mountain West as the only FBS conference to not release an intraconference schedule.  I assume that a finalized BYU schedule, specifically additional weeknight games or potentially a change in opponents as there are four Mountain West schools on the Cougars' 2015 schedule, is tied to the MW schedule.   With that said, two of the MW opponents for BYU are part of agreements encompassing more than a home-home series (Boise St. and Utah St.).

On the MAC and Sun Belt schedules, there are a few notable items
  • Oklahoma St. at Central Michigan was moved to Thursday, 9/3 from Saturday, 9/5.  It does have the appearance of being moved for a national telecast, possibly on ESPNU.
  • Missouri at Arkansas St. remains on Saturday 9/12 for now and may remain there.  ESPN has to carry the US Open men's semifinal matches that night, so if the game were to be moved to Friday for television coverage, it would likely air on ESPN2 or ESPNU.
  • The MAC release notes that their late October and November television appearances could air on ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3 and potentially other national television outlets.  What does this mean?  Could be a couple things:
    • ESPN is still in the planning phases for the '15 season and looking for places where they could potentially air games on ESPNEWS.
    • A sublicense agreement to a national television outlet is being worked on.  MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher hinted at this in an interview with the Hustle Belt SB Nation site in late September.
  • Regarding the last bullet point, two Thursday dates point to the work being done: 10/29 and 11/5.  On both of these dates, a Sun Belt game hosted by an eastern time zone school is airing on ESPNU.  On the MAC side of the house, two games each were set aside on both dates.  All four games are hosted by eastern time zone schools.  There are ways ESPN can keep all four games in-house by spreading the MAC games over ESPN2, ESPNEWS or ESPN3, though I am not sure they would use ESPN2.
* The Champions Classic men's basketball event televised by ESPN will be played on Tuesday 11/17/15.  Assuming the college basketball season starts on Friday 11/13/15 as Gonzaga vs. Pittsburgh will play in the Armed Forces Classic that day, that should put the Gavitt Tipoff games between the Big East and Big Ten to also start on 11/17/15 and finish on Friday 11/20/15.

I will be curious to see how Michigan St. is rotated into the series and if they will play a game in it as part of the 2015 & 2016 matchups as they are committed to the Champions Classic through 2016.  If they do happen to appear one of those years, I would expect them to be slotted in on a Thursday or Friday date and a Friday date to be the preference.  For 2015, also look for the following schools to be skipped or to play a game early in the schedule due to participation in another event on 11/19 & 11/20.  All courtesy of Blogging the Bracket:
  • Butler & Minnesota (Puerto Rico Tipoff)
  • Seton Hall (Charleston Classic)
  • Georgetown & Wisconsin (2K Sports Classic)
  • DePaul (Paradise Jam)
Purdue is also scheduled for the Hall of Fame Tip-Off on 11/21.  They, along with Georgetown & Wisconsin, would also host two opponents potentially that week as part of their respective events.

No comments: